JACKSONVILLE (TYLER MORNING TELEGRAPH) - A Jacksonville veteran has been reunited with his beloved service dog after the canine went missing for days.
Charlie Boothe, who is homeless and lives in a metal shed behind a building in Jacksonville, was asleep Saturday when his blackmouth cur, Fuzzy, left.
"Everybody around here knows she's with me. She's friendly so I let her run..." he said. "With a blackmouth cur, I could sit right here and let her go. ... She comes right back to me."
But on Sunday, Jennifer Carter, Boothe's close friend, found out Fuzzy was missing.
She said her son had a feeling something was wrong when he saw Boothe without his dog.
So on Monday morning, she went to Klein Animal Shelter to see if Fuzzy was there. The dog wasn't at the shelter, but later that day, Ms. Carter learned a man found Fuzzy.
She said the man saw the dog in front of the Tomato Bowl and took her home instead of the shelter, because he said her well-kept appearance indicated that she was special to someone. After Ms. Carter received information on the man who had Fuzzy, she picked up Boothe and drove over to the man's house to get her.
When asked what it was like to get Fuzzy back, Boothe took a long pause before saying the experience was better than Christmas.
Boothe, 55, got Fuzzy about nine months ago.
About that time, he said he had to go to the hospital and had mental and emotional issues, along with physical issues. After he was released from the hospital, he found Fuzzy at an animal shelter in Anderson County -- and fell in love with her.
Boothe said he walked by her, and "she went crazy" and "acted goofy" like he said she still does. Fuzzy turns 1 on Jan. 22.
Boothe admitted he sometimes gets emotional about the pup, saying he can cry on her shoulder and say things he couldn't say to others. She also goes everywhere with him and is not judgmental, he said.
"She helps me emotionally, mentally and physically because sometimes I can't get up," he said of days he needs to sleep.
Ms. Carter added, "He's been through some rough times. Not everyone treats homeless people the way they ought to."
But Chuck Bones, with the Marine Corps League Detachment No. 1381 of Jacksonville, said the group is trying to get Boothe into a multi-story complex.
He said the league also confirmed Boothe is a Vietnam veteran but is checking on the circumstances and details of his service.
He also said he talked with Jacksonville police, and they know Boothe is living in the metal shed.
"We're trying to keep him out of trouble. We're trying to get him back to civilization," Bones said. "People have shunned him off most of his adult life after Vietnam. He's grown real callous, so we're slowly working on helping to bring him around."
Boothe thanked the Marines Corps League for its efforts and law enforcement for letting him stay in the building.
"Remember God, country, Corps and simplify. That's it," he said. "They allowed me to gain my self-respect ... and my pride back."